Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. James 1:22-24 (TM)
I’m hard of hearing. It’s a genetic issue. My grandfather was hard of hearing. My father is hard of hearing. I received my first hearing aid earlier this year. The hearing aid helps, but it’s not a cure. The type of hearing loss I have allows me to hear sounds, but not distinguish them. I can hear people talking, but I can’t make out the words that they are saying. It’s especially difficult in public places or in places with a lot of white noise like cars, airplanes or houses with noisy air conditioning. At best it’s a minor annoyance, thought sometimes it can be extremely frustrating for me and for my family.
Because I can hear the sounds, but have a hard time catching the words, my brain sometimes takes a few seconds to run the sounds I’ve just heard coming out of my wife’s mouth and run them through several filters before coming up with an educated guess at what she just said. Yesterday, as we drove home from a weekend at the lake, Wendy was talking to me. With the white noise in the car, I was finding it difficult to hear her. I could hear that she was talking to me. I looked at her, smiled and nodded as my brain began to process the sounds in an effort to decipher them into words.
Suddenly she laughed. "When you smile like that and nod I know you you didn’t hear a word I just said!" she exclaimed.
I wonder how often God says the same thing of me. With God, however, the problem is not with my hearing – the problem is with my obeying. How often do I choose to smile and nod, then walk away and ignore what I’ve just been told? God sends the message loud and clear. He’s not interested in those who show up and merely listen. He’s interested in those who listen and then act on what they’ve heard.